On 21-22 May, 2013, in theKyivCityTeachersHouse, theConferenceDifferencesandRespectwasheldbytheInstituteofEcumenicalStudiesoftheUkrainianCatholicUniversitywiththesupportoftheAssociationofBenefactorsofUkraine, InternationalInitiative“HeartinLittleHands”andPublicOrganizationResourceCenterofCommunityInitiative within the framework of the project “Ecumenical Social Week”.

The event was aimed to discuss and exchange experience with regard to the development of charitable activities in the country, modern gender policy and establishment of value guidelines in the modern society.

The conference included a number of events, in particular, a session of the work team on interest philanthropy on 21 May.

The experts had an opportunity to discuss the possibility of further development of charitable activities by way of improvement of the Ukrainian law. The session’s agenda, in particular, included the following questions: presentation of the bill “On making alterations to the Tax Code of Ukraine regarding support of non-profit organizations” (a mechanism envisaged by the bill was called “interest philanthropy”), setting up a work team, discussion of the mechanism of promotion and lobbying of this legislative initiative.

At the opening of the session, Oleksandr Maksymchuk noted: “…both as President of the Association of Benefactors of Ukraine and practicing benefactor, I believe that this law is absolutely necessary since there is a lack of financial tools to carry out charitable activities in Ukraine and the existing ones are very complicated. Such mechanism would open the way to Europe.”

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As the result of the session, a work team on interest philanthropy was composed of representatives of charitable foundations, public organizations, educational and religious institutions, state officials, lawyers and all interested persons. The participants of the session also defined the terms of further elaboration of the Bill “On making alterations to the Tax Code of Ukraine with regard to support of non-profit organizations,” in particular, it was decided to present the revised bill at the 6th Ecumenical Social Week to be held on 1-5 October in Lviv so that it was approved by the Supreme Council of Ukraine.

On 22 May, the visitors participated in two round tables on the political aspect of the gender contemporary reality and values to which the children and youth are oriented.

During the first round table, the participants discussed the question of gender quota system in Ukraine and the world. Despite the fact that the experts made diametrically opposite statements both regarding the advantages and defects of such mechanism in politics, most of them did support the call to consider the professionalism of a candidate in addition to the observance of quotas by the authorities. The participants also presented a study on the balance and role of women in the Ukrainian politics. Another important question voiced at the round table was the observance of human rights. In particular, a human right campaigner, President of the International Women’s Human Right Center La Strada Ukraina noted that the issues of women’s rights, gender equality, overcoming of violence, general human rights are very important for the society, especially, for young people. To demonstrate the importance of the discussed problems and their solutions, activity of women’s public organizations were presented.

The next round table, “Value guidelines for youth and children in the modern world” dealt with the following issues: What values are popular with young people today? How are the values formed and in what way are they affected by the environment? Who should cultivate values (in children, young people)? What lies ahead of us in 20 years? What values will the next century bring? and many others. Teachers and scholars, clergymen, representatives of public and youth organizations and students tried to answer these questions and exchange experience. The live discussion of the mentioned issues with representatives of various social institutions showed the importance of fostering of values in children and young people. In particular, the speakers noted the influence of family on the formation of value guidelines of young people as well as the need for love and friendly communication, which are extremely important for the education of children. For example, Head of the Public Committee for National Security of Ukraine, public figure, lawyer and philosopher, Oleksiy Tolkachov quoted the Soviet science-fiction writer Ivan Yefremov, who was once asked about the future of mankind and who answered that the future will not be that of technologies, science or economy but that it will be primarily the future of a qualitatively new man who will be mentally mature, developed as far as the worldview is concerned and conscious. For only such man will be able to manage the whole world, handle ecological challenges and build a new, quality and harmonious world.

The conference ended with the master class “Circle of values” held by the International Initiative “Heart in Little Hands” as part of the project “On-life! Values of Ukrainians.”